|By Chaplain Rod Davis
|All scripture referances are from the New International Version of the Bible
|Who Let the Dogs Out?-lyrics by The Baha Men
|If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete
with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage
in the thickets by the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5)
I remember the first time I read this verse, nearly 30 years ago. It seemed to jump out at
me. It intrigued and, at the same time, puzzled me. I sensed that God was saying something
profound to me. I just didn’t know what it was. What's more, it would take more than 20
years for me to finally get it—20 years filled with intense sorrow and grief.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
Fire walks hand in hand with revelation. Indeed, God uses fire to sear His words deep into
our souls. Wisdom is the practical application of revelation and, as in my case, it can take
years to arrive at that place where we, at long last, grasp what God is saying to us. Then it
can take longer to learn how to put legs on that revelation and walk in it.
What was God trying to say to me? As it happens, He was giving me a warning.
I had just gone through the most painful event in my young life. I was devastated and
thought I would die of sorrow. There in the midst of my grief, as I lay licking my wounds,
God was softly saying to me, “Son, if you give up now, when things are a bit rough, what
are you going to do when life gets really difficult? If life’s little surprises make you want to
throw up your hands and quit now, what will you do when all Hell breaks lose?!”
May I ask you a personal question? What do you do when life throws you a curve? Do you
become angry and embittered at the pitcher? Do you cry out, “That’s not fair!” and then
drop your bat and walk away? Perhaps you swing and swing at the ball but keep fouling
out. Maybe you think that this game called “life” is actually rigged. You can’t win anyway.
So why even try.
Have you ever felt that way? Do you feel that way now? You’re not alone, my friend.
Many have felt the sting of bitter disappointment and wanted to crawl away somewhere and
die. I was one of them for a lot of years. I had what I called a “toilet bowl mentality.” It
seemed that whenever things were finally going good for me and I had my fingers on the
rim of the bowel, about to pull myself out—FLUSH!!! Life would pull the lever and once
again I would find myself sucked back into despair and hopelessness. Eventually, I got to
the point that whenever something distressing would come my way. I would respond with
one word, “FLUSH!”
I was one miserable puppy! How could a loser like me even think of competing with horses.
Why…I couldn’t even keep up with the men in the race. The very thought of competing at
all seemed absurd and far out of reach. Yet, deep inside, I knew there had to be a better
way that I was somehow missing. After all, didn’t Jesus promise us an abundant life? I
knew that my walk with the LORD was not where it needed to be, yet, still I was certain
that there was some higher plain that I was meant to walk on. But, how did I go about
getting there? This notion seemed to mock me with every new FLUSH that came my way.
I didn’t know then what I know now.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is
what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2)
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things
promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that
they were aliens and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)
They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They
went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated―the world
was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes
in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what
had been promised. (Hebrews 11:37-39)
“I’m just so hurt and disappointed!”
“With what are you disappointed?”
“Life… I guess. Things are not working out the way I hoped they would. I’ve been
believing that God was going to do something about my situation but… ”
“So, with whom are you really disappointed?”
“I guess… with God.”
“Let me ask you a question. Do you want God to love you and accept you on the basis of
your performance—on the basis of what you do or don’t do for him?”
“No, of course not!”
“Then why do you treat Him that way? Why do you deal with God on the basis of His
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not
need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing
furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your
hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve
your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
When life seems to accelerate to a blinding speed and you think you’re going to lose your
grip and fall off; when you pray and the Heavens seem brass; when all your hopes and
dreams have shattered and have fallen to the wayside; when everything within you screams
for you to quit, throw down your bat and go home; that’s when you’re faced with your
defining moment. What will you do? Will you still hope? Will you still trust God, even
though He doesn’t do what you think He should?
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15)
Trusting God, no matter what happens, is running with the big dogs―competing with
horses. It’s then that you make the difficult choice to stand firm and declare, “I’m going to
trust God! I will follow Him even if I never see the fruition of my faith—even if things
never turn around for me. I’m going to stand secure in my relationship with Him. My hope
is in Him—not in my circumstances changing. Even if life throws me into a fiery furnace, I
will not bow to the gods of despair and fear. I’m going to trust God even if He chooses, for
some higher purpose, to let me be consumed by the flames. My hope remains in God—no
This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:2)
God is looking for a remnant of His people who believe this way. He seeks a people who
will charge into the inferno for Him—who will run headlong into the thickets; a people who
will refuse to put conditions on service. God seeks a man or a woman who will trust Him
even though they may never receive what was promised. These are the chosen few—the
mighty men and women of God. These are the ones that God will use to invade history and
set society on its ear. The Big Dogs!
We met on the high road
At a glance, both looking bright and shiny, clean
In that seamless perfection
From the makers of the ad in a magazine
But then one slip is all it takes
The earth is not too far away
I said my friend is calling out from the peaks above
While I'm laid out on the fertile plain
Talkin' to me now sayin'
Can't get around,
And you can't get around
The slippery things in life
And it's technically correct
But the preachin' is easy, baby
You better believe it
Talkin' to me now, sayin'
Talkin' is cheap in my book
Help me up if you've read it, ah yeah
I'm under pressure
Crazy pressure now
Makes you want to quit!*
*The Preachin' Is Easy by Bryan Duncan from his album, Last Time I Was Here. Copyright/Label: ©1998 Fanatic
Music (adm. by Word Music, Inc.) Word Music, Inc. John Andrew Schreiner Music (ASCAP)